Never Give Up, It Will Get Better

photo credit
With the apparent suicide of hip hop mogul Chris Lighty earlier this week, there has been a necessary conversation brewing about suicide and mental illness. In the Black community in particular, there is definitely a stigma associated with going to therapy or seeking professional help when life becomes a too heavy. I've openly shared with you my experience with seeking help and being diagnosed with PTSD after Jolie's passing - but it was a long and hard road. Unfortunately, we don't all go down the path of reaching out for assistance and unfortunately, suicide is becoming an option for too many people. 

To be honest with you, the night Jolie died - I wanted to die. I would ask God not to wake me up in the mornings....but he would continue to give me the gift of life every dad, and I'd be so angry with him for that. There was a period of time where I couldn't comprehend how I was supposed to deal with what happened and then go back into the world as a functioning human being, I had nothing left. I had no purpose.  Sometimes the negativity in my mind would be so loud, I considered what would happen if I took matters into my own hands and took my own life since God wouldn't do it. I was in a bad shape. Luckily, I was never left alone for those first few weeks. Someone was always around me - sitting with me, talking with me, making sure I was eating, making sure I would sleep, getting me out the house. 

...after a few weeks, the negativity subsided enough for me to think a little clearer. I couldn't do that to my husband. He was already distraught about loosing his daughter, I couldn't go and leave him by himself. I certainly didn't want to cause my parents any more pain, as they were feeling helpless as it was since they couldn't do much to help me. What about my sisters? Especially the little one, I would traumatize her...I couldn't do it. 

After a while, I'd get better...then I'd go back into the storm...then I'd feel better...then I'd feel worse than ever. It wasn't normal. After therapy and then being diagnosed, I started to understand why I was having such a hard time, and why I wasn't progressing. Once I learned what the problem was, I began working with my therapist and talking through what was really bothering me - a lot of it was guilt. I became having real conversations with God and myself out loud. I opened up even more to my support system. I became stronger in my Faith. Slowly, it became a little more bearable, I learned how to cope. 

...had I given up, I wouldn't be where I am now, helping other baby loss moms and Blessed with another baby on the way. 

My point to this is - even though in the midst of what you're going through, you feel that you'll be stuck there forever, you won't be. It WILL take time, but things will get better. When you hit rock bottom, there is no where else to go but up. Never forget that. Never give up because you will cut your Blessings short. You have no idea what's in store for you. 

Pain has purpose...and your pain may have something to do with your ultimate purpose on this planet. 

You can't grow without rain or dirt thrown on you. All these trials and tribulations build our character and make us better and stronger individuals.

The pain of loosing my daughter will always be there, but I've learned how to cope. I still cry sometimes, but I don't go into deep depressions anymore because I think about her. My body used to shut down and I'd be useless for an entire day, but it doesn't happen anymore. I channel the pain into positive things. 

Whatever you're going through, please know that you will get through it. However if you feel as though you can't or won't get through it, seek professional help.

If you feel as though suicide is your only option, please call one of these numbers:

1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-273-TALK
1-800-784-2433 1-800-273-8255

Please take care of yourselves and stay positive.

Love you all,

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MOM VLOG // 20 Week Pregnancy Recap

In this video I recap the highs and lows of the first 20 weeks of this pregnancy,
 my experience with the 17-P injections, and what a high risk pregnancy is really like.

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Meet Me Halfway!

I'm officially at the half way mark today! 20 weeks! 5 months!
Here I am in my normal everyday glory...
A bun + a tank top with no pants on...lucky for you kids, I had a bra on when I snapped this photo
I'm very excited about this milestone but I'm not out of the woods as yet
I was at the end of my 5th months when I delivered Jolie...
I still have anxiety about passing that point
...and going further than that
Baby Boys movements aren't consistent yet, so I freak myself out sometimes
"Why isn't he moving"
...then he'll randomly start kicking the crap out of me...this kid is strong for his size
I think I'm just going to end up buying one of the those fetal doppler things
I barely slept last night, it was my hardest night
I couldn't get comfortable
My Snoogle that had been helping me out lately offered no comfort last night
...I'm starting to feel really pregnant now
In any case, I'm so excited about my milestone and am praying for another 20 weeks
...and am so excited about the hubby taking the day off to spend some time with me tomorrow
- Jin

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"Many Thanks" : The 19th Week Update

Solange Knowles + her son Jules in her Brooklyn home {via Elle Magazine}

I have to start off this post by saying a big thank you to all you have left comments, tweeted me, emailed me and sent facebook messages with well wishes. We're so excited about the little guy who will be arriving in January. We've had chosen a name for him prior to him even being conceived, and I've been calling the baby by the name before the doctor confirmed that it was a my Pastor had given me a heads up :)
Everything is going well with the pregnancy thus far - nothing out of the ordinary. Baby is moving around in there, especially when I play loud music in the car. I think that's the most amazing thing ever.
I'll be taking my third 17-P injection tomorrow morning...ugh! That needle is not a game and the oily substance that is the actual medication burns a little. Once a week I have to head over to my obgyn to get this injection in my bottom...only 16 more to go, lol. One of the positives however, is that I get to meet other expectant moms on a weekly basis in the waiting room and have lots of baby talk. Being stuck at home by myself on a typical day, I'm extremely excited when I get to meet new people. It also looks as though I'll be doing a sonogram once a month for the rest of the pregnancy to monitor the size of my cervix and check for any other abnormalities.
On a lighter note, I'm in the beginning stages of planning the baby shower - I already have a theme picked out. There is only one venue that I have my heart set on, but if it doesn't work out there, I'll just have it at my moms house. Initially, I was going to host the event at the same venue where my husband and I got married, but the slots that they had available clashed with a few time restrictions that I have due to family work schedules and out of towners. I've already purchased the invitations and will share the details of the shower as they unfold.
Thank you again for your support and as usual, I have to let you know that I appreciate you!
- Jin

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Oh Boy! It's Gender Reveal Time!

"There's another baby coming soon...a boy." my Pastor phopesized to me in January while I was on a trip to Florida visiting my mom. 

At the time I was severely depressed, still heavily mourning the passing of my daughter. I was so distraught and traumatized from the event, that I wasn't thinking about trying for another baby for at least a year or two. Suddenly he was telling me this, I wasn't ready for it. I returned to New York a few days later where I spent an unhealthy amount of time in bed, crying for most of the day - in seclusion. Randomly a few weeks later my husband said we should leave New York. I'd been hinting at it for a while, but to actually get him on board and hear him say it, made me a little nervous. We'd have to start over, again.

Not even two weeks later after the initial serious discussion, we found ourselves in Florida [feb 2012]. Once I got here, I found myself relaxing a little more. Just the change in environment alone lifted my spirits, and the fact that I began to go to church heavily. I'd known my moms Pastor for a little while from attending church with her a few times. When she told him that Jolie died, he started telling her about a little boy. He and I would talk on the phone while I was in New York - he'd encourage me and pray for me. Finally when I saw him, he kept telling me about the boy also...but I was still stuck on Jolie. He worked heavily on me to get me out of the dark place I was in, and I started making real progress. Therapy didn't help me in the way that he and my growing Faith did. I've always been spiritual but I began to rely on God more and strengthen my relationship even more after loosing my daughter. 

I learned that there was a Baptism scheduled for the weekend of my 25th birthday (April)- I decided that there would be no better birthday present to myself than getting Saved. My mother and I decided to do it on the same day, it was very special [you can watch the video of my Baptism here].

"You're ready for your babies now." my Pastor said to me as we were leaving the beach.

The intensity that he had in his eyes when he looked at me almost brought me to tears. God was going to give me another chance, much earlier than I'd plan for myself. So much more at ease, and with fear no longer hovering over me, I told myself husband that day that we should try again.

...the following month (May), I found out I was a month pregnant. Just like that! I was home by myself when I took the test - I didn't even know what to do with myself. "PREGNANT" wasn't enough of a confirmation for me, I had to take the second one in the pack, it said the same thing. No way! I ran out my house and drove to Publix to buy another pack of a different brand, it also confirmed the pregnancy. After a few attempts of reaching my husband I started to calm down. I realized I couldn't tell him this at work. When he called back to check on me I made up a random excuse. I put the positive tests in a a jewelry box and told my husband that I had a gift for him waiting on the bed once he got home. It was an emotional moment when he opened the box to find the tests. We cried together. forward to the 14th week of pregnancy where I get to see a much better picture of the baby. My little sister and I keep talking about it being a boy. The ultrasound tech says it looks as though we may be right.  I didn't want to get my hopes up because it was so early. However, at my 18 week sonogram last week, I got confirmation that 2.0 is indeed a boy! And here he is:
2.0 at 18 weeks & 5 days
To be honest, my eyes were watering during the entire sonogram which was followed by a full blown meltdown in the car as I talked to my older sister on the phone. Never did I imagine this time last year, that I'd be so Blessed a year later. I was very overwhelmed with emotion. God is so amazing!

My family is so excited about meeting this little guy! Not to mention, my husband and I keep getting into full blown debates about who the baby looks like based on the sonogram photo, lol. Yes of course we can't really tell right now, but I know for sure that he's going to look like his mommy :)

Yesterday at church, I showed my Pastor the sonogram photo and told him it was boy, just like he said. He broke out into the funniest dance ever, I was cracking up. after my long story (sorry), the gist is that 2.0 is a boy! 65% of you lovelies guessed correctly!

Was your gender prediction correct?

- Jin 

PS: Please "LIKE" my new Facebook page, I would love to be able to chat with you :)

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"Being Mom Is Enough" - Oprah

My bank account may not have the amount of O's that I desire...I may not have the career that I'm longing for as yet...but dammit, life is good. Of course, it is important to set goals and have aspirations - but it's even more important to focus on and be thankful for where you are now, otherwise you can't receive more. Don't get me wrong, there are moments of weakness when I compare myself to my friends and their important jobs and big salaries, as I tread the water trying to stay afloat. I have moments when I think about where I could be now if I'd done certain things differently. But the fact of the matter is, I am where I'm supposed to be at this very moment.

I'm lucky enough to have a family that allows me to only have to worry about one thing right now - getting this baby here! Between a list of restrictions from the doctor and the extra ones given to me by my husband and mom, I can't do much...and they've convinced me that there's no reason to feel bad about that.

Today I couldn't help but to cry happy tears throughout my ultrasound and then have a true meltdown once I got back to my car. I am so Blessed. This time last year, there was no way that I could imagine my current situation. Leaving New York behind and a new baby? I couldn't have guessed. Everything I was praying for has happened...except the career...but clearly it's not meant to happen as yet. I'm learning to accept that part, though it's frustrating...and no I'm not giving up.

For now I will continue to thank God for what I do have - support, love, the guardian angel that I gave birth to and another bundle of joy in my womb. What ever I don't have, I will continue to pray for and understand that it will not come into my life unless it's meant for me.

For now I will embrace becoming a mother and accept that it is enough. The job doesn't come with a big office, a enviable salary or a 401k, but it is a privilege. 

- Jin

PS: Please "LIKE" my new Facebook page, I would love to be able to chat with you :)

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outfit post // Princess of Prints

I've been dying to wear this skirt since my mom bought it for me a little while back. Do you ever refuse to wear a certain item until "the perfect occasion" comes up? I can't be the only one, lol. I wore it for the first time this Sunday on the last day of my staycation. Like most maxi skirts and dresses, it's super long for me since I'm only 4'11. Normally I'd have to get it hemmed, but having to pull it up over my baby bump allowed me to skip that step (for now). I'm even looking forward to wearing it as a dress. 
Tank: I promise the tag says Oscar De La Renta but I highly doubt that, lol
Belt: Forever 21 // Skirt: Lush // Sandals: Bamboo // Crossbody Bag: H&M
Mom Is Wearing
Dress: BCX via Macys // Shoes: Montego Bay Club // Bag: Micheal Kors
Here is my mom making a special appearance today! If you've been reading my blog over the years, you know I'm notorious for stealing items out of her closet - most of which I've recently returned. I have to say that my mom was the first person to make me fall in love with fashion. When I was a kid, I thought she was the most glamorous woman on Earth, lol. While I was growing up in Jamaica, she was known for throwing parties, and I would just sit and watch her get ready in the most amazing outfits. She's kept a few of her expensive sequin dresses, but she was so tiny back then - neither of us can squeeze into them now, lol. I promise those dresses are motivation for me to get in shape - I will wear them one day :)


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outfit post // Beach Ball

Hat: Collection Eighteen // Sunnies: Rayban // Swimsuit: Merona
I can't believe I'm posting these pics, but pregnancy is supposed to be a beautiful thing right, lol? I was nervous someone might mistake me for a beach ball while I was over in Naples. 

Shopping for a swimsuit to accommodate Bump 2.0 was such a challenge. I was over the whole shopping experience and was prepared to give up the beach experience all together. Apparently there is a very limited selection of affordable maternity swimwear and what is affordable is grossly unflattering. Every suit I tried on frustrated me more and more. I think I may have found my calling in life. In my book $50 and above is not "affordable" for a swimsuit that you're not going to wear that much - at least for my budget. Just when I gave up and my family was cashing out at Target, I spotted this little number in the regular section. I didn't have time to try it on since they were paying already, so I grabbed a size XL and hoped for the best. Luckily it fit once I tried it on at home and I actually have some room to grow.

I love the beach! Playing around in the water with my family was so much fun! It also made my back feel so much better. This kid is growing and doing a number on me, lol. By the way, I'm currently in my 17th week of this pregnancy and am starting to feel some quickening. I didn't feel it this early with Jolie, this baby seems to already be more active. It's almost time to confirm 2.0's gender - keep voting - Boy seems to be winning by a landslide!!!

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staycation // Naples, Florida [ PIC HEAVY ]

It was only a few days ago that I talked about wanting to have a little staycation here in Florida. The God's must have been listening, because just a few days later my mom came up with the idea of us driving over to Naples. Located in Southwest area of Florida, it was only about a hour and a half car ride from home, possibly less. We stayed at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club located right on the coast and were upgraded to an ocean view suite. We really enjoyed our accommodations and I have to say that we returned extremely relaxed after our weekend stay. The water was warm, the sand was white and the trials of reality were pushed aside for just a bit. 
The view from our room
Checking out the scenery upon arrival
My favorite drink - a virgin strawberry daiquiri (even when I'm not preggers, lol)
Lunch // Calamari, Buffalo Wings, Club Sandwich + Fries
We watched the sun set that night
...but we explored the beach first
Watching the sunrise from our room before deciding to check it out from the beach
...we're always thinking about her
Breakfast was amazing!
Enjoying the water!
It's always a good time when my mom is around
Tell me what you did this weekend

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LACQUER LIFE // :"Rise & Shine" by Sinful Colors Professional

It's been a while since I've been able to share some lacquer love with you due to my nail polish smell aversion (the agony). Nowadays I only paint my nails if I have somewhere important to go, and typically walk around with chipped nails thereafter as the remover makes me feel sick as well. For our weekend trip, my mom picked up a bottle of "Rise & Shine" by Sinful Colors. I typically purchase these polishes for only .99 cents and they're pretty good for the money. If you like to change your color every few days or so, this is certainly an affordable option. It certainly worked well for the seaside motif of this past weekend.

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WASH DAY // using Vatika Oil, Motions Naturally You Moisturizing Cleanser + Smoothing Conditioner and Shea Radiance's Nourishing Hair Repair Cream

After about a week or so with my cornrows, I decided to take them down in preparation for a quick trip out of town this weekend. I wanted to try out a different style, so naturally I'd have to wash my hair first. I decided to use the Motions Naturally You line paired with the Shea Radiance Nourishing Hair Repair Cream that I received in my July Curlbox. I also decided to whip out an old favorite - my Vatika Oil that I used as a pre-poo since I'd be using shampoo. 
a million and one colors in my hair, lol

This was my first time using these products together, and my first time ever using the Shea Radiance Hair Nourishing Cream. I really loved the way this combination worked for me - it left my hair soft and extremely shiny.

I've gotten around to using the using the shampoo and conditioner from the Motions Naturally You line a couple times this month, and I have to admit that I really like it. I'm not big on shampoo, but I've only had positive experiences with their moisturizing cleaner. I've used this product with and without vatika oil - never once has this shampoo dried out my hair. I used the smoothing conditioner to detangle my hair before washing it out - that process was a breeze! After rinsing the conditioner out my hair, it was still soft and manageable. I had high hopes for this product as Motions was a line I used when my hair was relaxed, and I wasn't disappointed with this new formula. 

After washing my hair yesterday, I wasn't quite sure how I'd want to style it for the weekend so I just needed to give it some moisture while I air dried it. I chose the Shea Radiance Nourishing Hair Repair Cream from the July box as well. I used majority of the 2 oz. sample to rub through my hair and part it in four sections. I then created a jumbo two strand twist in each section before punning it up to air dry. This product made my hair even softer and the sheen it gave my curls is impeccable. Thus far in my hair journey, no other product as given me this much shine. 

. . . 
Now I just have to figure out what style I want for my trip!

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